EU’s Copyright Directive proposal has Second Life and Roblox players worried

A proposed law that’s making its way through the European Union’s legislative bodies has both players and studios worried that a wave of oppressive censorship might be on the way for video games (never mind other publishers, bloggers, and internet users!).

The law in question is called the Copyright Directive, which is being designed to protect (obviously) copyrights. The problem is that there are multiple provisions that are “vaguely worded and ripe for abuse,” including one that would make it a law to check everything uploaded online for possible copyright infringement.

Online games such as Second Life and Roblox that rely heavily on player-created and -uploaded material are at risk for possible censorship from an automated filter that will most likely not be up to the task.

“This is a boon for griefers,” predicts author Cory Doctorow. “Since the rule has no penalties for abuse, griefers could claim copyright over public domain works, works that others had created, etc, and block other players from using them — you could upload every military insignia, the logo of a rival clan, etc.”

Source: The Verge, New World Notes. Thanks Brett and Sally!
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imayb1

Personally, I liked Boing Boing’s article (https://boingboing.net/2018/06/07/thanks-axel-voss.html).

A large crux of issues can be attributed to Article 13. According to the article above, “sites that allow the public to post anything that might be copyrighted — text, pics, videos, games, sounds, code — will have to run user submissions through a copyright filter that will check to see if it matches the a known copyrighted work.” Further, _anyone_ can add something to the blacklist and there are no penalties for being overzealous or trolly about it.

Article 11 is the one about a tax for news links. Notably, this could cause a lot of damage to Wikipedia, which requires news citations be open and free to all wiki users. If media links are going to cost money to anyone, wiki won’t use them. You can see where this is going.

The good news is that this pile of papers has to pass a European Parliament plenary vote– meaning 28 EU members must agree to it. If you are in the EU, contact your MEPs (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html) and let them know what you think about this.

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Frank White

Predict even more US companies and sites to bar EU countries….

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Duey Bear
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Duey Bear

This will essentially drive a wall between European and North American internet users. I can easily see sites like Twitch.tv redirecting EU users to a compliant website “Twitch.eu” to avoid imposing any regulations on the rest of their user base, allowing all the rest of the world to continue on as normal.
Amazon may of course pay the license depending on the cost and effectively nothing changes, but there’s no guarantee further EU regulations are coming.

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Fervor Bliss

Maybe humanity is not really ready for the international internet.

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Sally Bowls

Say you were going to create a site like this in Europe (and your friends & family’s intervention did not stop you – an eternal salute to Bree & team for diving into the small business [cess]pool.)

Certain quoting / links to this site would generate a taxable event that MOPEU would not be able to waive. Big companies like FB & Google will have licensing agreements with Big Media but I can’t see that many people would want to get a government-mandated license from MopEU. I can’t see that helping MOPEU traffic. The internet is far from its founding dreams, but this is just giving up on it being more than FB&Google linking to big businesses.

MOPEU would need to scan every post to their site prior to it going live. So this is an additional expense and additional legal liability for MOPEU. This will be the non-music version of Google’s content id for music. How many of my quotes of books/movies/poems would set it off?

IMO, this would be another reason for a company to say “no game forums, use reddit.”

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gelfred

Not sure when this comes into force, but I do believe that even after we (UK) leave the EU in whatever form, if this passes it will still affect us and the internet around the world in a wholly disruptive way.
As the EU is wont to do, much as the British Parliament and probably most others, they keep trying to get the internet to fit into a more easily managed service, they keep trying to push internet packages for certain types of internet access and haven’t managed this yet.
With the large amount of protest parties and general difficulty of brute forcing law at the parliamentary level in a proportional system, hopefully this wont get through, but the European Commission has a priority in digital commerce and shaping it to fit the EU. And the commission tends to get its way eventually, if they pass this I am sure many more protectionist internet regulations will be proposed.

So send messages to your MEP, and hope the commission is too busy with other things!

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Mark Jacobs

Unlike the GDPR, if this thing actually goes into effect, it will hurt people much more than it will hurt most game developers.

It initially started as a way to “protect” smaller companies from larger-company practices such as linking to the smaller companies websites/newsfeeds/etc. without paying the smaller companies anything. Unfortunately, the way it is currently drafted, it would also end memes overnight and Cory Doctorow says, can be weaponized quite easily.

One of the amusing things about this regulation is that while it was drafted to protect EU interests over US interests (US has most of the large tech companies that were the original target), the fact is that these same large companies are the ones that have the database/resources/tech/etc. to have that kind of filter. So, in trying to make the tech giants less powerful they end up making them potentially more powerful.

I haven’t had the time to go as deeply into this as I did the GDPR, but folks, from what I’ve read, this is potentially a heck of a lot more damaging to the Internet than the GDPR is.

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Sally Bowls

I doubt you have time, what with your planning for your leisurely 4th of July holiday – and other stuff – but Youtuber Law had

EU, This Makes No Sense. Taxing Links and Required Scans of All Uploads. EU’s Article 11 & 13.

LIVE: Sorry EU. You Broke the Internet (Part 2). What’s Up with the EU Article 11 & 13.

—-

Previously, it had not even occurred to me about game chat. It seems certain you will need to scan every user post/comment on your forums and check against a database prior to it being posted. TBD if it will require every chat comment to be scanned first.

My understanding is that as an EU Directive, it means that every country will need to adopt a compatible law but that means 28 country-specific laws you will need to obey.

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Sally Bowls

Reading the Cory link above

“Under Article 13, companies that allow user-generated content of ANY KIND would have to design some kind of machine-learning-based censorship system that used catalogs of known copyrighted works to check user submissions for copyright violations,”

So an assumption is that if the Google content for music cost them $60M to create, it would cost a lot more for you to come up a system to check if the images and designs in CUBE are EU approved.

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Schmidt.Capela

Something else to think about, a couple EU countries in the past attempted to force search engines to pay for including news snippets with the link. Google decided to just never add snippets with the links to any site that didn’t grant them a free license to use snippets. So, just about everyone that wanted Google to pay for using the snippets caved, because not having the snippets together with the link in Google results cost them too much traffic.

In other words, Google/Facebook/Microsoft/etc are unlikely to ever have to pay a single cent to link to other sites or use snippets, because having a site’s content linked on their portals is a big competitive advantage for the sites being linked.

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Sally Bowls

Yeah Spain was the example where Google quit linking when the law was passed and it hurt the media companies who lost the links.

re “Google/Facebook/Microsoft/etc are unlikely to ever have to pay a single cent to link to other sites” IANAL but listening to Youtuber Law on this, it did not sound like the directive makes the license optional. I.e., it will not be possible for the media to waive the rights.

And if any quoting requires a license, FB/G/M will license it for the very biggest [media] companies, but I can’t see it worth their trouble for small sites. Which is perfectly OK for the large media sites but would really suck for the rest of the sites.

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Armsbend

It is good that the EU is testing, and usually failing, the boundaries of capitalism so the United States can improve on the fact later.

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Matthäus Wey

As a EU citizen I have a really bad feeling about this one :/

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Armsbend

GDRP was so lightly thought out that I wouldn’t hold out much hope. They seem to be very reactionary at the moment.

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Matthäus Wey

It just worries me that there seems to be zero media coverage which the others had y_y.

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kgptzac

I think you mean the boundaries of capitalism that in particular, borders socialism.

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Armsbend

Yes. Testing the boundaries of capitalism also includes social experiments into private business and protectionism.